Sweet spot (sports)
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The sweet spot is a place where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort. In tennis, squash, racquetball, baseball, or cricket, a given swing will result in a more powerful hit if the ball strikes the racket or bat on the latter's sweet spot.
The sweet spot is the location at which the object being struck, usually a ball, absorbs the maximum amount of the available kinetic energy and rebounds away from the racket, bat, club, etc. with a greater velocity than if struck at any other point on the racket, bat or club.
A baseball (for example) will rebound with maximum kinetic energy (mass × velocity) at a location along the bat where vibration between the butt end and the ball contact point is balanced by vibration between the ball contact point and the barrel end. If the ball is hit closer to the end of the bat, the grip of the bat will try to rotate forward out of the batter's hands, whereas if the ball hits it closer to the handle, the bat's tip will try to rotate forward and drive the bat into the batter's hands. The small "sweet spot" is where these two "vibrations" offset each other - the centre of percussion for the point of grip.
Tennis, squash and racquetball
The sweet spot is the area that, when hit by a ball, imparts the greatest amount of kinetic energy (mass x velocity) to the ball.
The sweet spot is not the center of the racket face. For example, a tennis racket may have a somewhat elliptical head yet the sweet spot is not at the center of the face because of the influence of the other racket structure (the grip, shaft and throat).
Modern rackets have larger sweet spots, accomplished by increasing the face area, but also by increasing the frame stiffness by means of composite construction materials such as carbon fiber construction because of its high strength to weight ratio.
A major design change in modern clubs is to increase the size of the sweet spot on the club face. This has been accomplished by increasing the size of the face itself and moving the mass of the club head toward the edges of the face, a technique known in the industry as perimeter weighting. Most amateur clubs have increased face size and perimeter weighting to make off-center hits more forgiving, whereas professional club heads have remained smaller with more uniform thickness (known as "blades").